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Elvenwork Forum

This forum has been a way to provide a public exchange of questions and answers for polymer clay sculptors. But, as I said in my final post, there comes a time when all things must end. That doesn't mean the forum used as an archive has nothing to offer. Indeed it is still loaded with questions and answers that remain relevant and which are searchable! For that reason, I'm keeping it available, though no new posts can be added. If after searching the forum your question isn't addressed, Join me on to ask it. As always, you'll find me there as Katherine Dewey. Hope to see you there. --  Katherine

Elvenwork Forum
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clay is too soft

Hello! I have a problem, the clay gets too soft as I'm working on my sculpture. Hours of hard work melt away with dents and bends and fingerprints. Is there a way to harden the clay as I go? I don't want to bake it really but if that's what it takes I will. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Re: clay is too soft

Many clays are too soft for additive modeling
techniques. To make a soft clay firmer, roll it into thin sheets. Sandwich the clay between clean sheets
of paper and place a weight on top. Let it rest over night. The paper will draw or "leach", excess plasticiser from the clay. After "leaching" test the clay's fitness for modeling:

Roll it into a ball, cut the ball in half, and then put the halves back together and blend the seams by stroking the surface with your finger. If you can create a smooth ball out of the two halves without pushing the clay out of shape, it's fit.
If not, leach the clay again.

Another helpmate for modeling is canned air, available where computer supplies are sold. You can use the propellant to chill the surface of your sculpture. Shake the can well and then turn it upside down to spray, releasing the heavier than air propellant.

Hope this helps,